The Lieberman Possibility

Matt Lewis
Posted: Aug 28, 2008 5:10 PM
Most conservatives and political junkies that I know don't put much stock in a Lieberman veep pick. 

To us, it seems a ridiculous notion.1  That's because we are thinking:  "He can't do that!  It would ruin the convention!  Conservatives would walk out!  It would be political suicide!"  (All these things are most likely true.)

But our philosophical inclinations may mean that we are not best-suited to analyze the possiblity (this is why most political operatives are pragmatic types like Steve Schmidt).  Our philosphy may, in this instance, cloud our analysis ...

I have talked to non-conservatives who would view a Lieberman pick as an example of McCain showing he's a "maverick," or as an example of McCain making a governing choice.  Sure, conservatives hate the idea -- and "Republicans" may not like it much -- but the general public may like it just fine.  And more importantly, McCain may see it that way, too.  Keep in mind, he has had to defer a lot of his decisions and gut instincts for the good of the campaign.  My experience has been that once in a while, a candidate has a psychological need to demonstrate to everyone that he does what he wants to do -- no matter what his advisers say.  And if there is ever a decision, he may reason, when he gets to decide for himself, this is it ...

(Dwayne Horner has written the speech that McCain could use to "sell" a Lieberman pick) ...

But what about the Rove story?  Some saw the story of how Karl Rove tried to kill a Lieberman pick as further proof that McCain wouldn't dare pick Lieberman.  But it could be a way for McCain to demonstrate he's not listening to Bush or Rove.  In fact, maybe it was set-up that way... 2

So picking Lieberman could help position McCain as a maverick who defied Karl Rove.  If you think of it, the best argument Obama has is that McCain is like Bush, so this could help (then again, it is interesting that there are pictures of McCain hugging Bush -- and of Lieberman kissing him -- so maybe that wouldn't work...)

I'm not saying this is going to happen -- or that it is a legitimate argument, but I do think that conservatives may dismiss the notion that McCain would pick a Democrat as ridiculous, and in so doing, have failed to do the things that would have prevented this pick.

1. This will probably not happen.  Joe Lieberman will probably not be the pick, and this post is likely not going to be in tomorrow's Blogometer, either.  It will probably be Pawlenty or maybe Romney.  I'm just saying, it COULD happen ...

2. This, of course, is a very cynical theory -- and when I posited the theory to Garthwaite, he responded, "How Rovian!"